Liver and Onions with Paulo Coehlo!

I recently had some liver and onions, and ENJOYED IT.  My mother in law makes a really tasty version of liver and my husband recently made it.  This has been a journey for me.  I never thought I’d even encounter liver let alone try it.  But when I met Jayesh, I realized very quickly that he is not a picky eater and he LOVES good food.  So I decided to just put my concerns aside and eat whatever he presented to me.  When I first tried liver, it was a bit chalky and the texture threw me off, but I’m an open minded person and figured it must be an acquired taste.  I gave it several tries.  The spices that my mother in law puts on it are really good, so I concentrated on those flavors rather than the mineral flavor.  Somewhere down that road I stopped tasting the liver taste and actually enjoyed it.  

Image

Image

 

I think it was when I took a second helping that Jayesh noticed I was really enjoying the meal.  It surprised me, because typically I’m battling through each bite and trying to find what I like about it.  This time I just liked it and kept going.  I hadn’t even realized it.  

We both started talking about why I even bothered with the liver if I didn’t enjoy it the first time.  I just wanted to share that with Jayesh.  I never wanted him to feel like he couldn’t do something or enjoy something because I didn’t.  I did it for love.  Not for anything in return, but simply for Jayesh’s benefit.  

Not too long after this, a good friend of mine approached me with an excerpt from a Paulo Coehlo novel.  She presented me with some questions and told me to take a look.  I did.  I wanted to share my response and the excerpt with you, because the idea is worth sharing. 

Love is a powerful force.  It allows us to experience things we never would have, it gives us strength, builds us up.  At the same time it can be destructive and disappointing.  Love can change your mind, open your mind, and get you to like liver!  How do we tap into this power and really benefit from it?  Below you’ll find the link to the excerpt, my friend’s questions, and my response.  I’d really like to open this discussion up and hear what you guys have to say about it.  

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/131290117/Paulo-Coelho-on-Love-Manuscript-Found-in-Accra-Excerpt-3#.UVSG3zcYmgu

 

Questions:

a) What do you think about this in general?
b) Too ideal? Is love so mythical/magical? Isn’t reality so much more practical?
c) People do things for love and we try to make the other person happy. Are actions used to ‘seduce’, then, illegitimate? Where do you draw the line between being loving (ie doing loving things for someone) and using love to get things (ie be loved back)?
d) Do you think Paulo Coelho over-values love? Is he making to big of deal of what it means in life to an individual?

 

My response:

In general, I agree with this 100%. A while back I started reading books written by Dr. Brian Weiss. They are about past life regression and hypnosis used to retrieve our soul’s experiences. One of the books really opened my eyes. I happened to finish reading it a while before meeting my husband. This book is called ‘Messages from the Masters’. You should read it, it’s enlightening and really opens your mind up to this concept that love is the strongest and most important force in our lives. After reading this book I allowed myself to just love, in it’s truest form. That is, love without expectation. This doesn’t just go for romantic relationships but relationships with friends as well. People in general. I started to not expect anything from anyone and just did things because I wanted to, because I cared. I found that I could really care for people. At first it was difficult because not everyone is as kind and giving and it takes time to break that habit of expecting something in return. But I powered through and realized that I found joy in making others happy, and doing things for others. Soon I found myself surrounded by positivity and it seemed to be contagious. People in my life were kind to me because I was kind to them. So my relationships became stronger and better. Of course I still encounter negative people, and people who are just so cynical that they question my motives or wonder why I’m being so nice to them. But those people have a ways to go on their journey and I can’t judge them because I was once in their position. I find that I don’t have resentment, anger, jealousy, all the negative emotions associated with unmet expectations. When I met Jayesh, I was able to completely fall in love because that’s what my heart was feeling, not because I was expecting something in return. At that point, to me it seemed that whether he loved me right away or the same amount didn’t matter. I was open and loving and 4 weeks after meeting he asked me to marry him because he said he’d never experienced such an unconditional love from someone. I never pressured him to fulfill any voids because I didn’t have any. I was content, because I had spent all that time before meeting him allowing myself to be full of love. It changed me as a person. To this day our love is strong because we don’t have resentment. I think 10 years ago if I had seen a friend of mine get flowers from her boyfriend I would have gotten jealous. Asked myself ‘why is my boyfriend not doing that for me, there must be something wrong with him or me’ But this is toxic thinking and represents what is most wrong about relationships these days. The expectation. I don’t ever expect anything from my husband, I just love him and show him that I care, because I want him to feel loved. But I don’t expect that if I do something for him that he should do that for me in return. This has made it easy for him to show his love in his own way. He isn’t pressured, he’s allowed to open his heart and express love the way he knows how to.
I don’t think it’s idealistic, this idea of unconditional love. I think the world we live in doesn’t allow for trust and faith. Which are the two things it takes to love like this. I trusted my husband with my heart and I had faith that sooner or later he would love me back. There’s two kinds of people in this world. It can be seen most when meeting a stranger. There’s the kind of person, who, upon meeting a stranger, will be skeptical and not let the person in right away. They may keep their distance and be a bit rude until this person has given them a reason to be kind to them. Then there’s the kind of person who embraces everyone and is kind and trusting right away until the other person gives him or her a reason to not trust him or her. I think the latter find it easier to love the way Paulo Coelho is describing. The people who have those trust issues and cannot embrace people right away, give people the benefit of the doubt, those people I find have the hardest time sustaining a relationship because their hearts are closed.
Love being mythical or magical, I think that’s an interesting choice of words. Magic is an illusion, it is not what it appears to be. Myth is something that exists only in our imaginations or is fictitious. So I don’t believe that to be true of love. I think love and the power of love is very real. Most of this passage talks about having faith and even when things seem dim to know that the possibility of love and returned love is there. We just have to keep loving and being positive. It’s the same message as telling someone to remain positive even when the chips are down. To know that God has a bigger plan for us. Everything is meant to be, it is unfolding as it should, etc. What is practical or not is up to the individual. When you say reality is practical, what is your reality? Some would say it is practical to just openly love one another and spread that positivity. It is wasted energy to be negative and dwell on things, or to formulate and scheme. I think it takes less effort and energy to just love one another than it does to be negative. This is difficult because not everyone is on the same page and most will take advantage of someone who gives so openly. It then becomes important for the open person to discriminate between good people and toxic people.
Your question about doing things for someone is a good one. I think it’s important to consider motive and intention. Of course we try to seduce our partners, to get their attention. But I think it’s more important to understand why we do things. Did you just cook your boyfriend a big meal and rub his feet because you want to convince him that he should marry you, or did you do it because you know how much he enjoys that particular meal and you know he’s had a long day and would like him to relax? Did you say ‘I love you’ first because you wanted to hear it back, or did you say it because that’s how you feel and you need the other person to know how much you care for them? I think it’s fairly easy to analyze our actions. Are we doing something because we expected something in return or did we do it to simply elicit joy in the other person?
I think Paulo Coelho is right on the money with this excerpt. It only sounds like a big deal when you have been so far removed from the concept that it starts to sound idealistic and unrealistic. Love has so many forms, it isn’t only romantic. This particular excerpt answers a woman’s question about love always passing her by, however it can be interpreted to fit the love we have for our family, friends, and the love we should have for one another without the stipulation of having a relationship. 
When I hear the word love I don’t think of romance, lovers, boyfriends, or hearts and chocolate. The word love has been commercialized and changed to mean something I don’t believe it means. If we think of our feelings on a spectrum love being on one end and hate being on the other, then love simply means the absence of hate. It is the absence of negativity, hate, pessimism, etc. So with that being said, I think it is crucial and necessary for people to learn to feel this way, because it could very well save our lives.

Advertisements

A little love story.

It’s no secret.  I love my husband.  I make it very apparent in my blogs and in real life.  Everyone who knows me hears it all the time.  He’s my favorite subject and I could gush for hours.   But seriously…I love my husband.  So I’m going to indulge myself by dedicating this post to him and along the way I hope you find it helpful or at the very least, amusing/entertaining.

Our story is my favorite.

My grandfather told me I would meet a light eyed, tall man, with a good education.  He told me I would marry him by 26.  I was 25 when he told me this.  I kept thinking…I don’t have much time to meet this mysterious man!  My grandfather was gifted when it came to reading lives and knowing the future.  You can be a skeptic if you want, but I believe and the hundreds of people that he helped will tell you the same.  If I ever doubted him, my love story would be the reason I found faith.

After my grandfather passed, I followed his instruction and got on shaadi.com to find my soul mate.  Not even a month after I joined, I came across Jayesh’s profile.  I thought, wow.  Not because of anything in particular, but I was drawn to him.  For some reason I couldn’t connect with him.  So for a few days I would just visit his profile and stare at his picture.  I know that sounds weird, but I was so drawn to him.  I felt so connected to him and I can’t explain it.  After almost a week of stalking his profile, I considered just plunking down the money and buying a membership so I could write him.  That night I got online to make the purchase and I had a message waiting in my inbox.  My heart flew to my throat when I saw his user name.  With trembling hands I opened his message, and I felt in my gut that my life was about to change.

We started emailing and on August 30th about 8 months before I turned 26 I talked to him on the phone for the first time.  I opened up immediately.  I felt so comfortable.  We talked everyday sometimes a few times a day.  I missed him when we weren’t on the phone.  After a few days of talking I booked my flight to meet him.  I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to see him.

September 19th just after noon, I met him.  We already had inside jokes and so that was how we started our initial meeting.  There was no ice to break, but we had joked that in order to break the ice we would slow motion run to each other.  Just something silly to get past the awkward first moment.  Only, it was never awkward.  My dad happened to be there on a business trip so he met us at the airport.  Yes, that’s right, just minutes after meeting me, Jayesh met my father.  My father, who never likes anyone, fell in love with Jayesh.  If not my instant connection, this was for sure a sign of good things to come.

We had sushi, we watched Rambo, we bonded.  It was the best weekend I had ever had.  We even cooked together.  There was this moment when I was sitting at the dinner table and Jayesh was going out to check on the steaks.  He very idly grazed my back with his hand as he was walking out.  There was so much love in that gesture and it was electricity through my body.  In that instant I felt linked to him.  I just knew my future was with this guy.  I just about melted with that little loving touch.  I looked around and suddenly saw his home in a different light.  That fridge would soon hold my favorite foods.  These closets would be full of my clothes.  Together we would furnish this house and turn it into our home.

Two weeks later I visited again.  I left my toothbrush and my hair products behind.  That Sunday night when I got home from the airport, we talked on the phone.  Not too much into that conversation we agreed to get married.  Just like that.  Four weeks after our first meeting, we decided to spend forever together.  It was so easy to say yes, I had no questions or doubt in my mind.  And although I didn’t know everything about Jayesh, I knew I wanted to spend my life getting to know him as my husband.

When we got off the phone, I remember going to the living room where my parents were sitting and telling them what we decided.  That moment is such a blur.  I wish I could remember it better, but I was still in shock.

That was October.  We got married in March, just after my 26th birthday.  We had a lovely honeymoon in Puerta Vallarta and in July we got married again, traditional style.

It was a whirlwind, but me and my gut-we’ve always been best friends, and my gut has never steered me wrong.

We often like to talk about how we met, because it was just all so meant to be.

Here is our story in pictures:

This is me with my bestest friend, right before I met my love.

This is our first concert and my second trip. I said ‘I love you’ that night!

Just like that, we were engaged!

He surprised me in India and proposed at the Taj Mahal!

We laugh a lot! So many inside jokes!

We play pretend!

This was our civil marriage.

This was our beautiful Hindu wedding ceremony.

We always have fun together!

We believe in forever. Jayesh designed our tattoos. Om symbol made with our initials. We got these for my birthday and our first anniversary.

We have a zest for life and we celebrate EVERYTHING. This was Jayesh’s 4th anniversary of his 29th birthday 😉  I was also about 4 months pregnant!

After a little over a year married, we were blessed with our angel. He was born just after our second anniversary!

I am so blessed to have this amazing man in my life. From all angles he is perfect to me. Even more so after we created our little angel.

After 4 years together, we still have such a blast. Baby, home, job, life – we still make time for each other.

When I first started seeing Jayesh, people would tell me it would get old.  That the passion would run out and I shouldn’t be so optimistic.  What a terrible thing to say to someone at the beginning of one of the toughest journeys.  I can be realistic and admit that relationships, marriages, are not easy.  It takes effort to make it work.  You have two different people coming together to live one life together.  There’s compromise and understanding, bending a bit here and there, and of course forgiveness and unconditional love.  It makes it easier when you’re very compatible with your mate.  To all those skeptics out there – if you’re out of passion, and not having a grand ol’ time with your partner – you’re doing it wrong.

To this day, when my husband comes home from work, I am excited.  When I hear the garage door open I get butterflies.  I rush to the door and greet him with a loving hug and kiss.  Occasionally we argue, but it ends so quickly I’m not sure you can call it arguing.  We disagree and then come to a compromise.  We both left our egos at the door when we got together and that is why I believe we resolve things so quickly.  It’s not about winning or who’s right.  It’s about what is best for US.  If someone wins, we both lose.  We are kind to one another, and we put each other first.  We have a balanced love.  Since I moved in, we have never gone one day without kissing each other goodbye in the morning.  It’s the little things that form the glue for our solid foundation.  Now that we have our son, I’m even more grateful for the love we share.  I am happy that my son will be able to learn from example what it takes to nurture a relationship.  Because the biggest lesson in all of this cannot be explained, it can only be witnessed.

Here’s my attempt at an explanation:

When you make each other a priority, far above anyone and anything else, a love grows that is indestructible because it is fortified with security.  When you are consistently kind to one another and only see the other in a positive light, there is no room for resentment, which is poison in a relationship.  Nothing stands a chance at tearing you apart because both people are so secure in the relationship that they know each other enough to ignore false information.

This all may seem like cheese-ball love, but it’s not.  It’s the glue.  So when my husband and I are faced with challenges, we instantly unite and we’re on the same wavelength.  I have so much respect for  him and him for me.  It is very apparent in how we treat each other.  On the same note, we don’t tolerate when the other is disrespected by someone else.  That’s a part of that ‘we are a team’ mentality.

The most important out of it all is honesty.  We don’t lie, period.

Also never bad mouth your partner.  It’s a form of betrayal.  Keep in mind that your love for them will allow you to forgive and possibly forget, but the people you tell your problems to will not.  Have each others back and praise them!

I’m his biggest fan, and he is mine.  I’ve heard people complain about outward shows of love.  That what’s ‘normal’ is to spend time apart.  This disappoints me every time I hear it.  We’re a package deal.  We’re best friends.  We actually LIKE spending every minute together.  If you don’t have that in your life, I’m sorry, but I certainly won’t spend this short life time loving LESS.

I wish all of you love, unconditional-sweep-you-off-your-feet love.  Everyone deserves their love story.

Lesson in Value

I want to tell you a story that is near and dear to my heart.  In it you might find a lesson, or perhaps some inspiration, or maybe you’ll just find it to be an interesting story to read.

In 2008, I went to India to scatter my grandfather’s ashes.  I was very close to my grandfather.  He raised me, he had always been there, and while taking that trip I thought my life could never be the same without him and his gentle way of giving advice.  What would I do without his advice?  What would I do without him?!

It was May when he passed, and we took this trip in December.  That September I met Jayesh and fell in love instantly.  By October we were happily engaged and planning a wedding.  So when December came along and I was getting ready to take this flight I had mixed feelings.  I had not gone a day without talking to Jayesh and this trip to the other side of the world was going to throw a wrench at that.  On the other hand, I was really excited to see my family and a bit apprehensive about scattering the ashes.  I knew it was going to be extremely difficult to let go even though I knew it was necessary.

The day of the flight to India, my dad managed to upgrade my ticket to first class.  I was flying alone and meeting my parents there.  My heart was heavy and taking that flight alone was difficult.  I had so many emotions just floating at the surface waiting to bubble over.  And it happened.  They served a really good shrimp appetizer and I thought, ‘Jayesh should really be here’.  I didn’t think twice I grabbed the phone from the seat and slid my credit card through and dialed Jayesh’s number.  I started crying explaining to him that I felt guilty being in first class for the first time in my life and not next to him.  I wanted to experience new things with him.  I told him about the champagne upon seating, the scented warm towels, the comfortable seats, the food, and how none of it was as good without him.  He reassured me that we would talk often and that we would see each other soon.

The first part of the trip involved scattering my grandfather’s ashes.  We didn’t hire a priest, just a simple thing with my uncle, aunts, mom, dad, and cousin.  We said a few things and then took handfuls of the ashes and threw them into the Holy River.  I dipped my hands into the cool water and watched the ash that was clinging to my hands float away.  I cried.  Like a child.  The feeling of loss was so overwhelming.  Even though it had been 7 months, it felt fresh.  I kept the ID tag they put on the ashes and gripped it tight in my hands.  I couldn’t let go.

I hadn’t been feeling well and I took a turn for the worse that day.  Perhaps my sad heart, drained of any positivity, was making it difficult to recover.  To add to this discomfort, we were scheduled to take a train ride to Agra, then Jaipur.  The train ended up being delayed for 14 hours.  That’s 14 LONG hours at a train station with a dirty bathroom.  My temperature was spiking and after the first few hours I started going crazy.  There was nothing to do and I was tired and hungry.  I decided to call Jayesh since the timing was right.  Of course it goes to voicemail.  So I sit and talk to my cousin, poor guy, I must have talked his head off.  We finally get on the train and take the long journey to Jaipur since the delay forced us to cancel Agra.  It was a day long journey in the train, we mostly slept and ran to the bathroom (my cousin and I were both sick!)  I was a bit disappointed we wouldn’t make it to Agra.  That’s where the Taj Mahal is and that’s the second time my trip was canceled.  There’s a saying in India, that you don’t go to see the Taj Mahal, the Taj Mahal invites you.  So only those fated to go, get to go.  I guess it wasn’t in my fate.  My mother says to me “Maybe you’re supposed to go with your husband.  Don’t worry, you’ll get to go soon.”  I call Jayesh 5 more times and each time it goes to voicemail.  I start to worry.

So now that the timing is all thrown off we get to Jaipur a bit early and so our car rental isn’t quite ready.  We spend another hour just lounging around.  A van takes us to the resort, and by this time I am so exhausted I can’t take it.  We walk around the resort, which is beautiful beyond words, but I can’t quite enjoy it because I just want to lay down and rest.  As we approach the lobby I imagine just collapsing into the bed and sleeping for the whole day.  I sit on a sofa and wait for my dad to get the check in sorted.  My mom leans over and says “Who is that movie star over there, he looks familiar.”  I look up to see some fat man standing there.  “Mom, it’s just some fat guy, I don’t know who that-” and then the fat man moved and behind his giant silhouette I see the most beautiful man I’ve ever laid eyes on.  Jayesh!  My brain short circuits and I just run to him and throw my arms around his neck.  I’m crying and delirious.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around him being there.  What was he doing there?  How did he get there?  How did he know we were here?  What is going on?  My head was spinning with questions.  I hear everyone around me cheering and clapping and I suddenly realize I’m in the middle of my family in the resort lobby….in INDIA.  I settle down and stand next to Jayesh in a state of shock.

Later, Jayesh explains to me that the trip had been planned by my father, him and my father in law.  To surprise me and turn the trip into something positive.  Everyone was thinking of me.  I felt so special in that moment and so important and loved.  I can’t describe it, it was overwhelming.  The following morning we took a car to Agra and saw the Taj Mahal.  Jayesh asked me to marry him once more, his final proposal, at the biggest symbol of love in the world.  It was romantic and the perfect start to our fairy tale.  For several days it just seemed like I was dreaming.  That moment, where I reacted based on impulse, being totally caught off guard, proved to me I was in real love.  He’s my soul mate, it’s why I felt so empty without him and why my heart overflowed when I saw him in Jaipur.  I will never forget that.

What I realized at the end of this trip was this; relationships are everlasting.  My grandfather took care of me, protected me, guided me, loved me, and was always there for me no matter what.  When he passed I thought I had lost all of that and it felt like a giant void just sucking my happiness out of me.  Then Jayesh came along and I learned that the relationship I had with my grandfather never ended, it just took a new form.  Jayesh loves me, protects me, guides me, and is there for me no matter what.  The only difference is that my grandfather was like a father figure and Jayesh is my partner.  Much like the Hindu belief of reincarnation, I believe that our relationships are reincarnated as well.  They only seem to end, but they continue on in a different form.  So instead of continuing to mourn, I celebrated the renewal of one of the most important relationships in my life.  I was meant to meet Jayesh when I did, he saved my life.  He breathed new air into me and I was transformed.  I’m not sure if he knows just what he’s done for me and how much I value him, our relationship, and everything we’ve built together.  The day we met was a turning point in my life.  I could spend the rest of my life thanking him, it wouldn’t be enough.

So I hope what you’ve taken from this story is a lesson in value, faith, and purpose.  Value because each relationship in our life has value and meaning.  There is a reason for it, a purpose.  Identify the purpose and you will find the value.  Faith, because you must have faith in yourself and others.  Faith allows us to put aside insecurity and distraction and really focus on what’s important.

I wish you love, happiness, and valuable relationships.

Throwing Starfish

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked,
“What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make much of a difference.”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the man, he said…
“I made a difference for that one.”

Image

I heard this some time ago and have held it close to my heart ever since.  It’s a nice philosophy to apply to one’s life.  Each one of us wants to make a difference, but where do we start?  It’s so overwhelming to think about ending world hunger or finding shelter for the homeless.  But we are all compelled to try and do something.  Not everyone has the time to start an organization, raise funds, and go build houses in a third world.  Many of us can hardly make ends meet ourselves so how could we possibly spare a donation to a charity?

This is only my opinion, but I think it starts on a smaller scale.  Think of the tiny pebble that creates giant ripples in water.

Here’s my idea, it’s not a new one, but perhaps a forgotten one:

Be kind.  Just be kind to people.  It puts them in a good mood, which in turn allows them to be kind to another person.  Passing it forward in a way.  Just like gossip spreads as fast as the flu, so can kindness, if people did it.

So make it a habit to be kind, stop judging, lend a helping hand, and put the people around you in a good mood.  Spread that positive energy and eventually it will reach the people who do have the money or platform to do something huge.  And then, you will have made a difference at a larger scale.  Even at a smaller scale, you can brighten a person’s day and change their whole day around.  It could be the worst day possible for them, maybe they got some bad news, and then your bright smile and kind attitude just flipped that right around.

If you could imagine love and kindness as a way to communicate, it is a language that all can understand, the deaf can hear it, the blind can see it.

Being kind is infectious and so good for you.  Studies have shown that being positive and happy significantly improves health.  Kindness breeds more kindness.  So get out there and spread that love that you have inside of you.

Be forgiving and understanding at the times when people really test you.  This isn’t an easy task, people can be skeptics and sometimes they question kindness.  They wonder, what’s the catch?  Are there strings attached?  It is a sad thing to admit, but we immediately jump to the negative or cynical answer.  There will also be the people who get defensive when you are thoughtful towards them.  Say you give them some helpful advice or just offer your help in some way and they jump to a defense and treat you as if you were questioning their decisions or beliefs, don’t fret, their problem is deeper than you need to worry about. Just continue on your path.  There’s a fine line.  You do what you can to spread positivity-you are responsible for your actions, not the other person’s perception.

If any of this happens on your quest to kindness, don’t be discouraged.  Be persistent.  Ignore the people who want to bring you down or hold you back and continue on your goal.  Remember to love these people no matter what, and with consistency comes belief.  They will believe in you once you prove that this kindness and love is real and honest.  And really, you can’t win them all, but you can try your hardest!

I encourage all of you to think back to a time when a stranger was really nice to you.  Think about when someone helped you out and to no benefit of their own.  How did that make you feel?  Special?  Loved?  Happy?  Do that for someone else.  It’s time to make a difference, one starfish at a time.

Image